Flanders Foal Auction back in the Emirates, on January 25

Luk Van Puymbroeck, Gerald Lenaerts and the Sultan
Credit : Wendy Scholten

Wednesday 16 January - 11h55 | FFA

Flanders Foal Auction back in the Emirates, on January 25

The new year has barely begun and the Flanders Foal Auction (FFA) has already sold its first unborn showjumping foal. Last Saturday, top-class rider Peter Charles bought two of the six offered at the Horse Auction Belgium for €24,000 and €13,000, with the average sale price being €16,000. All eyes are now on the Flanders Embryo Auction in Sharjah, near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, on Friday, January 25.


Forerunner - Flanders Foal Auction back in the Emirates, on January 25

For the third year in a row, the FFA team will descend on the magnificent site of the Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club, where an international CSI3* show jumping event will be held from January 24–26, including, for the first time, Nations Cups for youth riders. One week later, the obstacles will be set up up again for the CSI5* weekend, featuring the renowned Dutch course builder Louis Konickx.

The Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club (SERC) is a leading actor in equestrian sport in the Emirates and often tries out new activities, including the first (and so far only) embryo auction in the country, in 2017. Sultan Mohammed Khalifa Al Yahya’ie, the man in charge of the equestrian centre, already bought several embryos at former editions and came over in person to the studfarm of Luk Van Puymbroek in Drongen, Belgium, where the young showjumping horses are reared. 
The new collection consists of twenty embryos, each and every one of them with impressive pedigrees. And Gerald Lenaerts, together with Luk Van Puymbroek the driving force behind the successful Flanders Foal Auction, is very pleased with the diversity in the catalogue.

Unique pedigrees
“We try to offer something new every year,” says Gerald Lenaerts. “We want to offer horses that are not normally found on the market. A Don VHP out of a daughter of the top-class mare Pialotta, for example, a full brother or sister of Beezie Madden’s Nations Cup horse Darry Lou, or an Eldorado whose full sister Jeunesse had just one time fault in the first round of the Aachen Grand Prix under Yves Vanderhasselt. Jeunesse was one of the best up-and-coming horses in Belgium last year. By Verdi, KWPN Horse of the Year, we have an embryo out of the dam of Grand Prix jumper Baileys ridden by Michel Hendrix. Now those are interesting items, don’t you think?”
Realistic prices
The selection process has gotten easier every year, organizers have noticed, as breeders have found their way to Flanders Foal Auction. “We mainly sell foals and embryos from Belgian bloodlines, but we certainly do not limit ourselves to one country or one studbook. We even have offers from Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and Great Britain. There is not a single embryo in this collection that does not bring a smile to your face. Another fine aspect is that the breeders ask very realistic prices. We like to sell and not be hampered by prices that are too high. There are plenty of (online) auctions offering magnificently bred embryos, which are not sold in the end because the breeders ask too much. Our embryos can in principle all go for a fair price.” 

Growing interest

Growing interest - Flanders Foal Auction back in the Emirates, on January 25

Credit : Flanders Foal Auction

The expectations for the Friday night auction (at 18:30 local time) are high. “I have a good feeling about it”, says Lenaerts. “More interest has been shown from Europe than ever before. They want to bid online or by telephone. In Sharjah itself there will also be sufficient bidding. The Arabs have come to know the auction by now. We have established direct contact with the Sultan and everything is getting easier, now that confidence has grown. He was pleased with the way the foals were looking at Luk’s place. When they are a little older, we will do some free jumping with them.”
Outdoor auction
This time, the embryo auction is not being held in the indoor ring but outside, just before the start of the spectacular Six Bar class. “We are very happy about that. People do not like to leave their seats and we got [few spectators] indoors, but we now expect that it will be a well-attended evening. The auction will take about one and a half hours.” After their purchase, new owners can immediately take out an insurance policy, so that the full amount will be paid out if the foal is not viable. “This has so far happened twice and was promptly handled to full satisfaction by Catherine de Buyl Horse Insurance.”

Coming to the client
Flanders Foal Auction has more on its agenda this year. In March, the team will visit Ocala (USA) for the second time for an embryo auction, and will also bring its foals to Bolesworth (GBR), Bonheiden (BEL) and Opglabbeek (BEL). “By coming to the clients, we [set  ourselves apart from] all the other auctions. Before, you know, you found that you are were all fishing in the same pond – and the pond is not very big. One thing is for sure: Arabs will never buy an embryo online. You can only sell when you visit them and we are quite happy to do so.” For more information: www.flandersfoalauction.be

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